Virginia Common Interest Community Board (CICB) regulations require that community associations (including condominium associations, cooperative associations and property owners associations, but not voluntary civic associations) adopt internal complaint processes by Sept. 28, 2012. These processes can be set out in the rules and regulations of the association and require, at a minimum, that:
- Complaints be made in writing;
- Association complaint forms be provided upon request; and
- Procedures for delivering, acknowledging and addressing complaints to the association be established, including timeframes and methods for requesting additional information or disposition of complaints lacking support and responding to complaints, document retention requirements, a list of specific information required as a part of each complaint, notice about when each complaint will be considered, and written notice of the final determination of any complaint, including information about appeal to the Common Interest Community Ombudsman.
Community associations that fail to adopt such complaint processes are subject to disciplinary action by the CICB, including lawsuits, monetary penalties and cease and desist orders. Associations are required to certify in each annual report to the CICB that their complaint procedure has been adopted and is in effect.
All community association boards should review their governing documents (codes, covenants and restrictions [CC&Rs]; articles of incorporation; and bylaws) and their rules and regulations to determine whether they have a complaint process on the books that meets the regulatory requirements. If not, the board should adopt rules and regulations to create such a process before Sept. 28. Note that member approval (and therefore a member meeting) may be necessary if an existing complaint process set out in governing documents must be amended to meet the regulatory requirements.
If you have questions about your community association’s internal complaint process or need help creating such a process, please contact the authors for more information.